Dawn's day at Wembley
Sunday 07 August 2011
Sunday was a day to remember for one grassroots volunteer in Essex as Dawn Barnard was announced as the winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Grassroots Football award at Wembley Stadium before The FA Community Shield between Manchester City and Manchester United.
Dawn, from Chelmsford, arrived at Wembley for the annual FA Community Awards presented by McDonald’s with seven other nominees for the award but was delighted to go home with the prize.
Having championed women’s and girl’s football in Essex for the last 25 years, Dawn also formed and played for Chelmsford City Ladies & Girls FC. In addition, she was instrumental in helping to create and run both the Essex County Girl’s Football League and the Essex County Women’s Football League.
Dawn has held numerous positions over the years and has successfully helped hundreds of young players make the transition from girl’s to women’s football.
At her own club, Chelmsford City FC, Dawn has been a key force in the growth of both the senior and junior sections, meaning that any female, regardless of age or ability, has the opportunity to play football. She has also seen a number of her players progress to play at various levels including national leagues, university and collegiate levels as well as international levels.
“It has kept me out of mischief,” she beamed. “The female game’s profile is heading in the right direction, it has come a long way in the 25 years I’ve been involved.”
McDonald’s Director of Football, Sir Geoff Hurst, who was part of the judging panel and presenter at the ceremony, said: “Dawn is a real inspiration to any female, young or old, who wants to play football.
"The impact she has had on women’s and girl’s football in Essex is remarkable and she has been instrumental in helping to develop professionalism within the game as well as creating more opportunities for girls to enjoy and play football at grassroots level."
He added: "She is a true ambassador for the game and should be really proud.”
The FA Community Awards, presented by McDonald’s aim to recognise and reward people across the country who make a difference to grassroots football in their local community – the people who dedicate their time to developing tomorrow’s young talent and help ensure safety and best practice in tens of thousands of clubs up and down the country. Nominations were received from 48 County FAs via TheFA.com.
As well as Dawn's award, seven other prizes were handed out before the Community Shield match;
To read more about all the winners of the award, click here.
For details of last year's FA/McDonald's Community Award winners, click here.